Frequently asked questions

We're here to help you every step of the way. Find answers to common questions about hearing implants.


We understand that getting a hearing implant is a life-changing event for you and your family. That’s why we put together some information that can help you find the answers you need to move forward. Dr. David Kelsall has been a cochlear implant surgeon for over 28 years and believes that hearing is a vital part of communication. Watch the video below to see Dr. Kelsall answer one of the most common questions he gets asked by his patients.

  1. How does a cochlear implant work?

    Cochlear implants are an established, Health Canada-approved medical treatment option designed to replace the function of the inner ear (cochlea) and mimic natural hearing. Cochlear implants use electrical impulses to transmit sound to the inner ear and on to the hearing nerve. This is then interpreted by the brain as sound. There are two main components to a cochlear implant system: an external processor and an internal implant. Research shows that adults with cochlear implants understand sentences almost seven times better on average than they could with hearing aids¹.  Learn more about how a cochlear implant works.

  2. How long is cochlear implant surgery?

    Cochlear implant surgery is typically a short and routine procedure. The surgery is typically outpatient and performed under general anesthesia. Cochlear implant procedure is considered safe, but like with any surgery, there are risks. After a couple days of recovery, most people are back to their normal routine and are typically back to work 1 to 2 weeks after surgery. Find out more about Cochlear implant surgery.

  3. How much does a cochlear implant cost?

    Unlike hearing aids, hearing implants can be covered by your provincial and territory health insurance plan. Canadian citizens, who hold a valid provincial health card, are eligible for coverage under provincial and territory health insurance plans for surgical care, hospital stays and audiological support. Contact your local hearing implant centre to learn more about coverage specific to your home province.

    Contact your local hearing implant centre

  4. Will a cochlear implant help me hear better than my hearing aids?

    Cochlear implants work differently than hearing aids. For some, hearing aids may be an effective option to treat hearing loss. However, as hearing loss progresses, it may still be difficult to hear speech and understand conversations, even when using powerful hearing aids. This is when a cochlear implant or a cochlear implant in one ear and a hearing aid in the other ear (bimodal hearing) may be a more effective solution to provide access to clearer sounds. In fact, a recent study shows that 93% of cochlear implant recipients demonstrated significantly improved speech understanding compared to a hearing aid.² Find out  next steps when hearing aids are not enough.

  5. How do I get a cochlear implant?

    One of the first steps to getting a cochlear implant is to have your hearing tested by an audiologist who is trained in cochlear implants and advanced hearing technologies to see if you qualify as a candidate. Cochlear implants help adults with moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears. They can also help children 12 to 24 months of age who have bilateral profound sensorineural hearing loss and demonstrate limited benefit from appropriate binaural hearing aids and children two years of age or older with severe to profound bilateral hearing loss. To request an appointment with a Hearing Implant Specialist today,  visit our clinic finder.

  6. How long does a cochlear implant last?

    We design our implant systems to allow access to technology upgrades as they become available without the need for additional surgery. Cochlear is constantly innovating to improve your hearing solution for comfort, performance and usability. As the global leader in implantable hearing solutions and with our large investment in research and development, our priority is to continue to bring advanced technology to you for a lifetime.

    Learn more about our current  smart sound processing technology.

  7. Can I have an MRI with a cochlear implant?

    Yes, our newest generation implant called the Nucleus® Profile™ Plus Implant expands our innovative implant portfolio by offering access to MRIs at 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla without the need for magnet removal or head wrapping.3 Learn more about Nucleus Implants.

    Older implant generations have varying MRI access based on the specific implant type. It is important to recognize that there are alternative diagnostic imaging tools to replace an MRI, such as a CT scan. The most appropriate imaging tool should be discussed with your medical professional care team. Learn more about MRI considerations.


  1. Balkany T, Hodges A, Menapace C, et al. Nucleus Freedom North American clinical trial. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 2007;136(5):757-762.
  2. Clinical Evaluation of the Cochlear Nucleus CI532 Cochlear Implants in Adults Investigator Meeting. 2019 Apr
  3. MRI Guidelines D774756.

*Covered for beneficiaries who meet their insurance plans coverage criteria. Coverage for adult Medicaid recipients varies according to state specific guidelines. Contact your insurance provider or hearing implant specialist to determine your eligibility for coverage